Sometimes we get caught up so much with our favourite ‘big’ such as Manchester United , Liverpool, Celtic, Rangers etc., that we forget that football is a grassroots sport.
And it’s at grassroots level that the game can contribute so much to society in general.
Two events in the last weeks reminded me of this tremendous contribution, not just to sport but to a much wider community.
This year local football club Trojans FC will celebrate 75 years in existence, an absolutely incredible milestone in the Creggan club’s history.
Founded by the late Edmund Carton, Trojans have gone from being simply a football team to becoming an integral part of the Creggan (and further afield) community.
The success of youth clubs like this cannot simply be measured in trophies or players produced, but in a much wider context.
The club has produced many good footballers but even more so, good citizens and of this they should rightly be proud.
Edmund Carton’s good work is now carried on by his son, Raymond and a hard working, dedicated bunch of volunteers.
And let’s hope the next 75 years be as rewarding and successful.
Meanwhile, I attended the re-naming ceremony at Bull Park in memory of the late great John ‘Ugg’ Clifford.
A giant of a man who shaped the lives of many youngsters during very troubled times, “Big Ugg” just didn’t teach you about football, he taught you how to lead your life and several generations of young men are testimony to that.
Everyone has a favourite ‘Ugg’ story and a few were told at last Saturday’s renaming ceremony.
It is a fitting tribute that the park is now known as The John ‘Ugg’ Clifford Park as it was his spiritual home.
As you support your favourite team, don’t forget the input of Trojans and ‘Big Uggs’ otherwise football loses its real meaning.